Red, White and Black

Updates on civil society activism
5 November, 2007, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Pakistan, Politics

Following the events covered in my last post, below are some updates on the developing situation. Most of these updates have been compiled from the LUMS email network.

Daily Times carried this story yesterday on the HRCP arrests:

The police locked up the others at Model Town police station, while former finance minister Dr Mubashir Hasan, among the participants at the meeting, has reportedly been released. Sources said the arrested people were forced to sign a statement declaring that they would not participate in any “anti-state” activity in future. Reporters were kept in a police prisoners van for more than 40 minutes and released only after showing identification cards. Meanwhile, over 150 activists, relatives of arrested persons, journalists, students and teachers of LUMS, BNU and GCU remain gathered outside Model Town Police Station. They also lit candles as a symbol of hope. Sources said intelligence reports had revealed the people were arrested because they were planning protests along with lawyers. Later on Sunday night, the authorities considered to keep the detainees at the police station, and later also thought of keeping them for a 30-day period. After a one-hour talk, however, police decided that the detainees would be released today (Monday), on an understanding that those arrested would not participate in “anti-state” activities in future, or else the government would not show any leniency. The government decided that the detainees be shifted to three different houses, chosen by them, to serve as sub-jails. Two houses would be reserved for the women.

This is the update received through the LUMS network:

Dear All

Proceedings have just been adjourned at the Model Town Kachehri where the participants from yesterdays Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) meeting who had been arrested and now detained for over twenty-four hours,were presented before a magistrate. I have just spoken to Mr. Abid HassanMinto and Khawaja Harris Ahmed – who had rushed to the court in order to represent the detainees. They have told me that the detainees have been charged for unlawful assembly (Section 144 Pakistan Penal Code) and Section16 of the Maintenance of Public Order law which illegalizes endangering
public safety and inciting violence. The magistrate refused to admit bail applications today and adjourned proceedings till tomorrow. Meanwhile, the detainees have now been sent to Kot Lakhpat Jail for the night. Let us remember them and their families in our thoughts and prayers tonight. I will keep you updated.

Osama Siddique

The LUMS administration has issued a formal protests at the arrests. It can be accessed here.

Below is an update on LHC protests by the lawyers, where they were joined by some LUMS faculty and students:

Yesterday around 35 students and a couple of faculty members of this university, on their own decision, went to the Lahore High Court(LHC) to register their protest against the suspension of civil and political liberties. For those who dont yet know about the proceedings here is a synopsis.

After raising slogans against the current regime, more than a thousand lawyers tried to move on to the mall road to protest. The police outside the main gate baton charged the lawyers and tear gased them. Some lawyers hurled back stones in retaliation. In response, a major tear gas-baton charge operation took place which forced everyone to take refuge inside buildings such as the cafeteria, bar hall, medical centre, and the library.

The police, breaking all rules and laws, proceeded inside the LHC premises and in a brutal assult broke into each and every building one by one, breaking doors and windows, and beat up anyone they say including ladies and elderly lawyers. Two of our students were kicked, slapped, and roughed up during this operation. Despite Dr. Pervaiz Hassans insistance that the police cannot enter into a medical facility no matter what, abusive plainclothes and baton weilding police broke down the door and entered. Dr Pervaiz Hassan was dragged out. The brave man was arrested defending the seriously injured people inside.

Meanwhile most of the lums groups was inside a tiny room in the medical centre after barely escaping baton charging fanatics by mere feets in the bar hall. After arresting Dr. Pervaiz Hassan, the policemen broke down the door to our room. After long protests, we were finally let out, forced to raise our hands as if we were prisoners of war and led out while policemen standing around threw verbal abuses at us. However, once the media got hold of the fact that we were students, it created a weird buzz that resulted in us standing on one side of the main gate. This happened momments before all of us were loaded into vans with the lawyers.

The concessions given to us did not change the fact that many already injured and bleading lawyers were being dragged and beaten brutaly infont of our eyes even after being arrested. The police also hit an ex lady judge of the high court on the head with a baton and then later did not even let her treat it in the medical centre. According to conservatice estimates more than half of the lawyers present were arrested.

It was a sad and shameful day for the country!

Karachi Metblogs reported on the civil society protest in Karachi at the Karachi Press Club here.

4 Comments so far
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[…] on Civil Society Activism in Pakistan November 7th, 2007 check out the updates from LUMS here and a press release from the LUMS administration […]

Pingback by Updates on Civil Society Activism in Pakistan « The Graffiti

Meh. The Police really kicked Lawyer ass in Multan too. They were ready today as well just outside the Kacheri. Other than that life goes on.

Comment by Prophet Ali

Good luck in struggle.

Comment by Renegade Eye

no comments


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